Norwegian bands escape to Brighton

 Date:14/05/2009 - 16/05/2009
 Type:Culture, Music
 Location:England, Brighton

The Great Escape festival showcases more than 300 local and international new artists over three days in Brighton, and a total of eleven Norwegian artists and bands will be playing this year.

Following 2008’s Norwegian extravaganza at the festival, this year’s edition will once again give both seasoned fans and new listeners the opportunity to experience Norway’s blossoming music scene live.

Thomas Dybdahl has released three albums and is scheduled to release a ‘best of’ album this coming autumn. His live performances are always soulful and the Norwegian press has lauded his concerts on numerous occasions. Dybdahl is one of Norway’s most popular singer/songwriters and has won two Norwegian Grammy Awards.

Thomas Dybdahl
Ocean Rooms
Thursday 14 May at 7.30pm

Thomas Dybdahl
Friday 15 May at 9.45pm

Although they have only been performing together for a couple of years, I Was a King have still managed to gain a healthy following of fans and received considerable praise critics and fellow musicians. Their debut album, ‘Losing Something Good for Something Better’, released in 2007, was given 8 out of 10 by NME and described as ‘royally brilliant’. The Guardian were equally generous in their praise; ‘Norwegian wunderkind Strømstad takes ol’ lankhair’s ramshackle rock and squeezes it through a dreampop filter… If Alan McGee hadn’t wound down Creation, this lot would have been first in the queue to sign on the dotted line.’

I Was a King
Ocean Rooms (Basement)
Thursday 14 May at 8.15pm

Tommy Tokyo & Starving for My Gravy’s sound is a complex blend of gospel, Americana, folk and soul, leading some to compare them with such musical greats as Bob Dylan, David Bowie, Lou Reed and Nick cave. They have gained a reputation in Norway as a very good live act, and they are renowned for their energetic gigs. They released their second album in 2008, entitled ‘Smear Your Smiles Back On’, and it received favourable reviews from the Norwegian music press, with some critics labelling the release as one of the albums of the year in Norway.

Tommy Tokyo & Starving for My Gravy
Thursday 14 May at 8.15pm

The New Wine makes danceable music for kids and adults all over the world. Energetic live-sets with steady beats, synth licks, rhythm guitar, heartache vocals and a driving bass are some the band’s characteristics.

The New Wine
Hectors House
Thursday 14 May at 10pm

Datarock describe themselves as punk rockers by nature, but heavily influenced by the distinctive style and stage presence of groups like Talking Heads and Devo, favouring the simple yet versatile Casio MT-64 keyboard and a Roland Groovebox over thrash guitars.
They released their first full-length album in 2007 and they have become seasoned performers, playing more than 300 gigs in 16 different countries.

Concorde 2
Thursday 14 May at 1.30am

Harry’s Gym released their debut album last October and have received plenty of praise from the international music press in recent months. NME ranked Harry’s Gym as one of the top five acts at this year’s by:larm festival, while Drowned In Sound described the band as ‘a bruising, sonic squall of an affair’ and that ‘dramatic dark pop is the order of the day, equal parts delicate and muscular.’

Harry’s Gym
Horatio’s Bar
Friday 15 May at 8.15pm

The Alexandria Quartet are originally from Bergen, but are currently based in East London. They released their critically acclaimed debut album in 2008 and have since toured Europe with Scottish band Travis. Their music has been used in Volkswagen advertisements in Canada and has also been included in the Sims videogame. The Alexandria Quartet will be touring England in May before heading to Germany this summer.

The Alexandria Quartet
Prince Albert
Friday 15 May at 1pm

Casiokids released the first ever Norwegian language pop single in the UK. They will tour throughout England in May as part of their ongoing European tour. International music press have doled out plenty of praise to the young Norwegians, leading to NME branding them ‘Scandinavia’s premier pop-tronica outfit’. The Guardian has also caught on to Casiokids, describing the band as similar to Röyksopp, citing ‘that both groups love melody as much as rhythm’.

Po Na Na
Friday 15 May at 8.45pm

Hanne Hukkelberg is a graduate of the Norwegian Academy of Music and has gained a reputation as a powerful live performer. Hukkelberg recently released her third album, ‘Blood From a Stone’, which was written during a seven month spell in northern Norway. She found the creative process intriguing explaining that ‘in the north of Norway it is way more quiet. It has been interesting to experience composing in both a busy city and in a quiet village. I noticed it affected me in very different ways. I felt a need for composing more quiet songs in the noisy city, and more noisy music in the quiet village.’ Hukkelberg has also been discovered by the British media, The Guardian, in particular, making bold claims about the Norwegian; ‘and as for her beautifully judged vocals, ignore those comparisons to Joanna Newsom or Björk. Rykestrasse 68 (her second album) puts Hukkelberg way ahead of both.’

Hanne Hukkelberg
Prince Albert
Friday 15 May at 2.30pm

Absent Elk, which has been supporting Girls Aloud lately on tour, is a Brighton-based band with a Norwegian front man. They play soaring melody driven indie pop and are tipped as 'one to watch for 2009'. The band launches their debut single 'Sun and Water' on Norway's national day 17 May. In addition to their appearance in Brighten, a special free intimate acoustic performance will take place outside the West Piazza, Covent Garden at 5pm on 17 May, where Norwegian frontman Kjetil Mørland and the band will play songs from their forthcoming album.

Absen Elk
Latest Music Bar Downstairs,
Friday 15 May, 11.30pm

Shining’s driving force, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Jørgen Munkeby, formerly of Jaga Jazzist, is not content with sticking to one genre and thus draws inspiration from several places, neatly moving between complex riffing, filmic soundscapes, jazz, classical and modern composition. Shining have been the focus of plenty of media attention, The New York Times being among their fans. The newspaper praised the group by writing that ‘Jørgen Munkeby [...] leads the group with brazen confidence, and his band mates decisively match his frenzy.’ While reviewing their latest album, Grindstone, the BBC highlighted their musical style, focussing particularly on ‘Shining's juggernaut headbanging is which is orchestrated with intellectual precision’.

The Freebut
Saturday 16 May at 9pm

For tickets and more info about the festival, click here.

Send this article to a friend  
Print version

Thomas Dyddahl.

Hanne Hukkelberg.


Norway - the official site in the UK / Contact the Embassy / Contact information
© 2003/2007